Facebook’s relationship with major game developer Zynga has gotten complicated. The two companies have been tied at the hip for a long time, but Zynga has been trying to cut back its reliance on the social network, since Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of profits from games on its platform. Facebook also wants the entire games ecosystem to thrive, not just Zynga. So when Facebook opened the app center, it gave smaller developers — such as Kixeye — a chance to compete.
Crowdstar, Facebook’s third largest game developer behind Zynga and Phrases, has teamed up with Microsoft to add social networking features to a new casual gaming hub.
Two companies agreeing to work together typically isn’t news-worthy, however yesterday’s announcement between Facebook and CrowdStar received a lot of attention. The attention was most likely a result of it being the second 5-year Credits relationship Facebook, following Zynga who hasn’t yet announced an exclusive integration of Facebook Credits. Neither agreement announcement included many details, however this time around, CrowdStar has announced exclusive use of Facebook Credits within their games.
As the Facebook gaming wars continue to heat up, analysts seek as many ways as possible to measure each companies’ gaming success. Monthly Active Users (MAUs), Daily Active Users (DAUs), Page Views, Monetization… the list goes on. There are as many ways to measure an application’s success as there are applications in the Facebook directory. That said, the dimension of user loyalty has always been interesting to me, and the concept of the users-to-fans ratio for a given application does a good job of indicating what percentage of users play the game and publicly demonstrate their affinity by signing up as a fan.
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Over the past 24 hours we’ve been receiving a ton of inquiries about Happy Pets going down, however we haven’t figured out why the application has gone down. With over 11 million monthly active users, Happy Pets is rapidly growing in popularity. Crowd Star, the developer behind the game, is also the developer of the hugely popular Happy Aquarium game which ranks as one of the 10 most popular applications on Facebook.
After trying to stay under the radar for the past few months, CrowdStar, the company behind the fourth largest game on the Facebook platform, Happy Aquarium, is launching their fourth game: Happy Pets. The application first debuted last Thursday and already has over one million monthly active users, approximately the size of the company’s other two games: Know-It-All Trivia and Restaurant Life. The company has great ambitions, with a goal of taking on Zynga.